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The West Virginia Hub has named the Monticello Ongoing Revitalization Effort (M.O.R.E.) as one of six communities in the state to begin the next round of the Blueprint Communities initiative. M.O.R.E. represents the Monticello Avenue neighborhood in the City of Clarksburg.
Blueprint Communities is a place-based revitalization initiative created by Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) and administered in West Virginia by the team at The Hub.
“Being named as a Blueprint Community will provide M.O.R.E. with leadership training and other support that is important to the development of our organization,” said Mateen Abdul-Aziz, M.O.R.E. Board President. Abdul-Aziz continued, “Part of the process of being a Blueprint community will create opportunities for civic engagement. M.O.R.E., in collaboration with our committed partners, has many different projects being planned – from the Margaret McCoy Community Garden, to affordable housing, to recreational opportunities and the Kelly Miller Community Center.”
The Blueprint Community team includes Mateen Abdul-Aziz, Jay McCoy, Elizabeth Shahan, Laura Rye, Dorian James, Anjellica Scott, Desiree Lambert, Martin Howe, Tom Simon, Todd Crump and Amy Baker.
M.O.R.E. is a community-led effort in the City of Clarksburg focusing on imagining and creating public spaces for community connections; enhancing the visual appeal of the Monticello Avenue neighborhood; encouraging residents to dream bigger for the neighborhood and their own lives; and contributing to the reduction of drug-related activity in the neighborhood.
The neighborhood is defined as Main Street from South 2nd Street to Clay Street including all side streets on the south side of Main (including, but not limited to, Washington Avenue, Ben Street, Virginia Avenue and E.B. Saunders Way) to near the intersection of Haymond Highway and Monticello Avenue near the Elk Creek. M.O.R.E. is pursuing 501(c)3 status and remains committed to major revitalization in the Monticello neighborhood, including the development of additional affordable housing and small businesses economic development.
City Manager and Board Member Martin Howe stated, “This is a great opportunity to participate in the Blueprint Community program. The M.O.R.E. organization exemplifies a successful grassroots effort that involves the community, city and private sector to continuously work together for the betterment of the neighborhood.” Howe closed with, “The Blueprint Community will allow for the recently formalized organizational board and its community team members to implement Its revitalization strategy and identify potential funding sources.”
The Blueprint Communities initiative has supported the development of local leadership, collaboration across sectors and holistic planning in 16 communities in West Virginia since 2007. For more information about The Hub and Blueprint Communities, visit http://wvhub.org/.